Grace After Henry

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Mar 2019

Member Reviews

Enjoyable and full-of heart ❤️I almost had to put it down bc the grief at the beginning was so raw but I’m glad I didn’t stop reading!
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Grace and Henry are about to move into their new home when Grace gets a call that Henry has been in a terrible accident and didn't make it. She retreats from everything and everyone for a few months until she is ready to move forward. She moves into their home, she goes back to work, and she tries to live each day at a time. Each day remains a struggle for Grace as she thinks she sees Henry everywhere - from the grocery store, at her work, and even in the cemetery. She is grief stricken and not ready to lose him or the memories they shared together. One day she is having work done on her home when she thinks she spots Henry again, but this time it's Andy, who does have striking similarities to Henry. As she learns to manage her grief, she realizes that she can still have those memories and that she may just be ready to live her "new normal." review: Without giving too much away in the synopsis, I really enjoyed this book. It was equally heart wrenching as it was heart warming. I thought the author did a great job at portraying loss and grief. I did have some differing thoughts on Andy and his involvement in the book. There were times that I questioned his authenticity and if I even liked him as a character. I didn't like the ending, but overall it was a cute book... which I needed after some other heavy books!
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The story deals with a love lost and how to cope with help from your friends and family and a long lost twin who becomes a new love.  The characters were believable but I didn’t really care for the ending.
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I wanted more from  this book. The beginning was funny, the middle muddy and the end hopeful. So maybe I enjoyed it more than I realized.
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** spoiler alert ** 

Grace and Henry’s happily ever after comes to an abrupt end when he is gruesomely killed in a biking accident on his way to an open house. In the weeks following his death, Grace keeps thinking she sees Henry around Dublin until the day a plumber comes to her door who is his spitting image. Andy has come in search of his birth mother only to find that both she and the identical twin he knew nothing about have died. An unorthodox relationship builds between the two as Grace’s grief process is stalled by this Henry substitute and Andy’s search for his past morphs into a chance to create an “alternate life” from the ashes of his brother’s. As Grace says, Andy “was a bridge between the life I had chosen and the one fate had given me.”

In a less talented author, this book could have been very maudlin and tragic. Instead, Shortall has gifted us with a heartwarming and captivating story which balances heart-breaking grief with a big dose of the humor the Irish are famous for. As Grace struggles to keep her grief from consuming her, she has the support of a stellar group of secondary characters who provide ample comic relief. There are the Three Wise Men at the cemetery who share her experience of having lost their partners and create a safe haven with their sage advice and tired jokes; irascible next-door neighbor Betty who has a deeply-camouflaged warm heart but provides a welcome distraction from lonely nights; best friend Aoife who drags her back into the land of the living; boss Dermot who hates his restaurant customers and refuses to give up his dream of acting; and her sweet and loving parents with their fancy date night at Nando’s and moth extermination attempts. There are also several memories of conversations Grace had with Henry full of bickering, teasing, joking and love that are a bittersweet reminder of all she has lost.

Despite the humor, Shortall doesn’t shy away from exposing Ireland’s tragic history of forced adoptions. As Andy uncovers details of his past, we see the devastation this practice wrought on generations of young Catholic women and the children taken from them. Grief comes in many forms, and late in the book Grace realizes that hers might not have been as great as Henry’s parents and that Andy has also suffered a huge loss by being separated from his twin and denied the opportunity to be raised as part of a loving family because he was considered “unexpected, surplus”. 

It’s a tribute to an author when the reader wants to be a part of the characters’ lives. Laughing along with Grace’s parents and spending time with her friends makes me want to move to Dublin yesterday. This beautiful book would appeal to fans of Maeve Binchy and Cecelia Ahern. 4.5 Stars. The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars is because I wasn’t happy with the ending and would love a sequel. Sadly, I’m not holding my breath.
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This book was a heartfelt, poignant story about grieving and going on with life after the death of a loved one - in this case, Grace's financé and love of her life. Her grief is complicated with the appearance of Henry's previously unknown identical twin brother Andy (the two were adopted), and while she has to cope with seeing the face of her lost love, Andy has to cope with grief for a brother he lost before he could find. The reader struggles with Grace through returning to work, home repairs, family relationships, and nosy neighbors. She is a beautifully drawn character, and I just wanted to hug her through the entire book. And I loved the use of very brief flashbacks to give the reader a picture of Grace and Henry's relationship, good and bad, so that we too can feel her loss. While a lot of the plot points could have been cliché or melodramatic, Shortall writes with such empathy and realism that she pulls it off. This is a book that will make you cherish the moments you have with the people you love. I can't wait to read more of her work.
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I'd be lying if I said that I didn't experience some sentimental moments while reading Grace After Henry.  So often we divide our lives into before and after pivotal moments.  It's tempting to stay with the familiar, to stay in the before, as it were. Ms. Shortall offers readers a gentle, lovely story of a woman trying to rebuild in the after, but don't be afraid, it's a realistic and entertaining journey.  Grace's return to life is complicated by the arrival of Andy,  who is her late husband's twin - Henry but not Henry.  I appreciated the deftness of the author's insertion of wit and humor, it was always appropriate to the moment.  Quite often I felt the tone of the book ease at pivotal plot points, which made it flow very easily. All in all, I enjoyed the complexity of the characters, the beauty of the setting, and the crispness of the dialogue.  The romance was sweet, and the ending satisfactory. I'd definitely read more from Ms. Shortall. 
I received my copy through NetGalley and am under no obligation to the publisher.
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Grace After Henry is a wonderful story about love after heartbreak (or after a loved one unexpectedly passes away). I'd hadn't read anything by  Eithne Shortall before, but she manages to be surprisingly sincere without falling into the tropes of twee or mushy. While there were some pacing problems (so slow in parts, while the ending was so fast!), I think this is 100% worth reading.
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Grace McDonnell and Henry Walsh had their future all planned out.  They were going to buy their dream house, get married and live happily ever after just outside of Dublin.

And then one rainy afternoon, everything is shattered.  

Grace must find a way to come to come to grips with her new reality.  Venturing out into a world where Henry no longer exists is almost too much to bear.  

So she forges bonds in the most unexpected of places – with a band of the grieving that meets daily in Glasnevin Cemetery, with her nosy new neighbour and with a man who happens to look exactly like her lost love.  

“Maybe life didn’t happen linearly. Maybe there were parallel worlds and existences and there was one just next to my own in which Henry didn’t disappear under the wheel of a sugar truck, in which he wasn’t so much a twin as one half of the same coin, the first act in a two-act play. Henry had always believed in fate, and I believed in second chances.”

Andy Cunningham came to Ireland to find his roots and ended up finding much more. 
 
He discovers a family just like the one that he had longed for all of his life and he could have it if he could manage to fill the void left by his twin brother.  

A part of him wants desperately to do just that.  But there’s another part – however small – that knows how unfair it is to even consider.
 
Together with Grace, he will find his truth and finally lead everyone down a path to healing.

“And what about us?” I asked, looking at him without an ounce of embarrassment. “How would we be?” 
“We’d be… however we wanted to be,” he said simply. He had no hesitation. He was confident on all of this. “There are no rules for happiness, Grace. No road map for this life. There are a million ways to live. I said it already, but it’s true. I didn’t fully appreciate it before but now I do: We get one life, but there’s more than one path.”

Grace After Henry is a stunning tale of love, loss and finding strength. Eithne Shortall masterfully blends searing heartbreak with a special kind of whip-smart humor that literally had me laughing through tears.  With her poignant prose, she sets a tone of affirmation and bravely follows through with an ending that is full of both melancholy and joy.  

This book is a rare gem that shines with a hopeful light.  And I could bask in its warmth for days…
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Grace After Henry is a lovely and surprisingly moving story about what happens after the one you love--your person--dies unexpectedly. I've never read anything by Eithne Shortall before, but she manages to be sincere without being maudlin or twee--no small feat in women's fiction about the death of a partner. And I loved, loved, loved the ending--it was perfect.
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ery enjoyable! Clever premise, unique plot twists and a fascinating moral dilemma. The characters are such a unique part of the story and I love the heroine's voice too. This novel really examines grief and the cost of keeping secrets and how humans are wired to either move on or wallow in the depths of despair, grieving what might've been. I appreciated this novel because it gave me a lot to think about, and the ending is particularly delightful. 
Many thanks to NetGalley for providing a complimentary copy. All opinions stated here are my own.
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Grace and Henry have been together for over five years in Dublin, Ireland and feel like their love is powerful and complete. Henry is in-route to meet Grace when he is killed in a freak accident. The world stops for Grace as she tries to continue on with her life in a sad and heart-wrenching manner. Grace moves into the home that the two had planned to buy and she is overcome with grief that hampers her work and sheer existence. She is so consumed with sadness that she imagines she sees Henry everywhere in her daily life. Suddenly one day she is stunned when she has a plumber knocking on her door who looks identical to Henry. Andy actually is Henry's long-lost twin who has come to Dublin to look into his past. Grace must fight the urge to see him as her Henry and to avoid transferring her feelings to Andy. The plot is an emotional landmine that seems able to blow up at every twist and turn of the story. Emotions do run high in this novel of loss and second chances. I gave this quirky, love story four stars for appeal and "couldn't put it down"ness. 

Grace After Henry will be available March 12, 2019 from G.P. Putnam's Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group Putnam. An egalley of this book was made available by the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
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I enjoyed Grace after Henry.  Its full of emotion.  I could not stop reading until I had finished every word.  The ending was not expected but I liked it very much.
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This poignant Irish love story was intriguingly sad, and yet hopeful about the future. I've never read Eithne Shortall before, but I very much enjoyed Grace After Henry.
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Grace After Henry puts a worst nightmare on display: ask a loved one to show up somewhere on time and he or she dies in a tragic accident on the way there. Henry was biking to an open house and meeting his long term girlfriend, Grace, when he's hit by the driver of a sugar truck. Grace, along with Henry's parents, grieve in different ways and Shortall covers these emotions flawlessly. As expected, Grace thinks she sees Henry's face all over town -- except she realizes she's not seeing things when the handyman brings a plumber to her new home and she realizes her beloved Henry could pass for the plumber's twin. Readers quickly find out that there could be some truth in that very statement; that Henry wasn't an only child -- he was a twin. Shortall delivers an emotional rollercoaster that will have everyone reading this one quickly to find out what will become of this family.
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This was a lovely, poignant story of a lost love and how Grace slowly reconciles to life without Henry.  I found myself really rooting for Andy, Grace's new love interest.  Although the ending wasn't what I expected, it felt true to the characters.  I really enjoyed this book!
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Grace loses her beloved partner Henry to a freak accident.  How she overcomes her grief with the help of family, friends, work and Charles Dickens is in this well told story.
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This is a beautifully written story about how one woman, Grace, finds grace after her boyfriend Henry dies tragically young.  It is well written, and I could feel each characters feelings throughout the story. Moving on after a loss like this is one of the hardest things we can do, and Grace figures out how  with the help of her parents and friends and the “three wise men “who are also honoring griefs of their own. 

Thanks to NetGalley, the author and publisher for an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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I liked how Grace learned to handle herself and move on with her life after the death of Henry. The cast of characters in this book is funny and fun loving and I loved all their antics. This book was hard to put down, and I hope while reading it that you find lots of heart in the characters and find some new heart from them.
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Absolutely loved this book, which is set in Dublin.  Grace is anxious to move into her new house with her partner, Henry, when she gets some tragic news.  How Grace moves forward and handles this tragedy is done with tears, laughs and honest emotion.  I loved Grace, the flashbacks to her relationship with Henry, and how she moves forward with her life.  I highly recommend this wonderful story, giving hope where there is sometimes a fear of never coping again.
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